Brittany: A Room (Or Not) Of One’s Own
Hi everyone. My name is Brittany and I’ve been hard at work on a novel for the last two years. I live in SC with my husband, 17 month old son, and baby #2, another boy, who will be born in early June. For now, I don’t get a lot of time to write. I try to jot down ideas while my son is playing, but more times than not, he ends up stealing the pen out of my hand and following that up with a victory dance where he leaps triumphantly on my notebook. For the last 6 months, I have done the bulk of my writing in very short bursts during my son’s nap time–which is unfortunately only once a day. It frustrates me to no end, but the alternative is even more frustrating.
I’ve made a lot of progress though, with over 200 pages written and 39 chapters under my belt. The key to my success is trying to achieve a level of zen while animal crackers are ground into my keyboard and empty sippy cups are hurled at my head. My mantra is always “If not today, then tomorrow.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a mother who writes. Ordinarily, when I think of a “writer” I imagine a reclusive character locked behind a door who neither eats nor sleeps for days. I think of this person because that is how I used to write before I had obligations to other people. I still have an “office” but I use the term loosely. An office seems to signify a private place to conduct one’s business and that is hardly how I would describe the place I do most of my writing. As a mother, I fully expect to find toys littering the floor and a strange assortment of other odds and ends that my son finds endlessly amusing. Lately, it has been the remnants of a bag of polyfill stuffing that he excavated from my craft basket. There are times I wish I could push everything outside the door and lock myself in. All I want is one day where I can write and make some real measurable progress. But of course, I can’t do that and I know it. The thing is, other people know it too, and very occasionally, someone will say to me “Come to my house. Bring the baby. I’ll watch him while you write.” There is a special place in heaven for these people. And I always take them up on their offer.
As a mother, I already know that it takes a village to raise a child, but I’m also learning that a village is also essential when you’re a writer. It takes that many offered spaces to get your novel finished!
Where do the rest of you write? And how do you carve out space for yourself in the midst of chaos?